About Sunana

Sunana Mobile Chargers are designed by Solar Light Company to allow street vendors and other marginalized small businesses to increase their incomes and improve their livelihoods while saving the environment.

The development of Sunana is supported through a grant from the US Power Africa initiative and administered by the US African Development Foundation (USADF), the US Agency for International Development (USAID), and General Electric Corporation (GE).

Sunana started life in 2014 with the award of a $100,000 challenge grant from Power Africa, and has gone through initial design and prototyping phases. The field trials have been completed in various parts of Ghana, including rural, peri-urban, and urban areas.

The response to the Sunana concept has been overwhelming. Almost all recharge vendorswere interested in the Sunana recharge station, and enthusiastically supported the field trials. They are eagerly waiting for the production units to get their business activities in high gear.

Why Sunana

The target population is street vendors in market places and along major urban thoroughfares. These vendors, who form a substantial percentage of Ghana’s informal economy, work long hours in the hot sun, many of them earning less than $3 per day. In major cities they are often internal migrants seeking to find their footing in a challenging competitive environment, made even more difficult by onerous taxes and fees, a lack of support services and little leverage over the prices of the products they sell.

Specifically, the project will target the growing number of mobile recharge vendors. These vendors sell the vast majority of “recharge cards” to the Ghanaians who hold over 29 million Ghanaian mobile phone subscriptions – 95% of whom are prepaid customers.

These street vendors are, therefore, a vital part of the mobile phone economy. As an example, MTN, the largest Ghanaian operator, with 50% of the country’s subscription base, has 260,000 people in their distribution chain, the vast majority of whom are in the project’s target population.

By providing the target population with a new and valued service to offer in the ever expanding mobile telecommunications sector, the project anticipates having a measurable positive effect on street vendor income.

Further, the project’s mobile Solar Charging System, Sunana℠, will expand this income stream to beneficiaries in smaller cities and towns that do not have the grid infrastructure to support efficient recharging of mobile phones. Finally, the Sunana℠ secure lock box should help to protect the street vendor from the well-documented problem of street theft and provide a much-needed source of power for lighting when the beneficiary returns home.
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